Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! This what Maurice brought home from SF. Boudin Jack-o-lantern. Cute.

These are what I made for Grace's Kindergarten Halloween party. She helped make the spiderwebs. Alex wanted to be the official taster (of the entire batch).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mitten right along

These mittens were a joy to knit. I want to make more. Anyone want some?

Here is what they look like modeled by Alex (who says "No one wears these, Mom!" Like I'm going to embarass him).

Here is what they look like without a model.

Next up is the Socks that Rock (shown wound).

I think I will try the Lucy colorway done toe up. I'm going to use a few tutorials I have seen on the web. This will be in honor of the end of Socktoberfest.

I need to start thinking about Christmas presents. Any requests?

Friday, October 27, 2006

More Stampin' Ideas

A long time ago, I ran into a group of gals in the Fresno airport. They had the crazed look of girls on the way to a Stampin Up convention. Long story short, they befriended me and have helped me come up with inspiration along my stampin' path all these years. These days I don't go to as many Inkertoys meetings as I used to because of my goofy schedule. When I do get to treat myself to a meeting, there's nothing like the burst of inspiration from creative friends. I went to one of Robin's meetings this week and the projects sure didn't dissappoint. Here's a photographic tour of the meeting:

These little cards were created by Robin. We created the little basket behind the cards, perfect for storing the notecards in a handy -- and cute -- place.

This swap card was super creative. Instead of a traditional fold, it was folded at the bottom. A notch cut with a circle cutter fits just so around a circle embellishment, giving the card a fun twist on the norm (and some extra space to write a letter). I've shown it open and closed.

My favorite project was a teeny little photo album. Here's the cover and a sample layout.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blurry Cables

I'm making progress on the mittens, almost on the thumb of mitten #2. No work on bathroom art. I was cruising the blog scene, and came across Grumperina's tutorial on cables without a cable needle. Since I was just fiddling with the cable needle for the mitten, and not enjoying it tremendously, I figured I would give it a whirl.

Here is a blurry photo of my first cables sans cable needle (next week is payday and new camera that can focus up close)--

Now I want to make cables on everything.

Aren't my kids well coordinated? They embraced crazy day at school. Should this be our Christmas card photo? I'm tempted.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


When I grow up I want to knit like Betty. I found her blog through Socktoberfest Flickr photos, and linked over to her site and was amazed at her sock knitting. She is from Spain, and using my best Mr. Marquez Hoover High Spanish, I almost understand it! Check out her blog -- Sin control.

If you want to be knocked over with a size 0 needle, check out the Yarn Harlot's wedding shawl. While I may never knit a shawl anywhere close to this, it is sure fun to see.

Isn't it nice to have a thing like the internet where inspiration is at your fingertips, literally?

Reno or bust... Stampin Up style

We're back!
OK... here's the timeline for our adventure.

One day and counting:

Thursday night... Survivor first. Duh. Priorities. Then I began my swap cards. I admit starting my swaps the night before I had to leave was a tad on the crazy side, but at least I didn't work on them in the car. I ended up finishing about 25. That's not an overly impressive total, but I did end up really liking my card.

Here are our cards:

The purse is made using two-sided paper, SU's slit punch and its large square punch. First punch out a square. Then punch the slit and fold it over. Cut around the slot to create the purse's handle and attach a brad to create the purse's clasp.

Driving day:
Friday morning... This is when I started to pack. Packing the day of the trip! Agh! How totally NOT me. Anyway, suitcase packed, rental car picked up and we're off. A trivia question: How long does it take to drive from Fresno to Reno? If you're in the car with Shelly, Mom and I, it will take you 12 hours. Stopping at five scrapbook stores, lunch and a tea stop does take time. The news from the Elk Grove/Sacramento stores is big. PaperZone, a favorite store of mine in Sacramento, has bought Memories, a scrapbook chain store. The combo store is just fantastic. Lots of cool stuff in every nook and cranny makes me a happy, happy chicka.

Regional day:
What fun. There's just an excitement about a Stampin Up event that can't be matched. We checked in, swappers all around us, and got our free stamp set. It is certainly a cute one. And, we got it first! It will be in next year's catalog and it is in our collection now. How cool is that?

Here are some samples made with the new set.

Once we got our set all mounted and name tags on, we began the swap. Here's mom swapping. The best part? People LOVED her cards! There were several women who were following her all around just to be able to swap with her. What fun!

We were really blessed by a demonstration by Shilo Wilstead, a SU trainer who is just the most talented person I've seen. Everything she does is just golden. I've seen her at other regionals and at convention. This time, she showed us a few great projects, like a file folder covered with designer papers, and a journal with tags and pockets and fun, fun embellishments. I've GOT, GOT, GOT, to do these soon.

It was a good, good weekend with good friends.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm Rockin!

I got a package today! My first Socks that Rock yarn!! That may not mean much to ordinary muggles, but to the sock obsessed, it is the highest achievement in handpainted sock yarn.

Since I am such a blog groupie, I started my collection with Lucy and Harlotty.

Aren't they fun?

I took apart the woven art wall thing and cut the strips in half to make them narrower. It looks better. I had trouble finding super stiff stabilizer so it is on hold until Wednesday. I work again tomorrow. Curse that employment business, it gets in the way of all sorts of things. It is, however, going to help in the procurement of a new camera that will focus better on these sorts of things --

It is really hard to take a picture of your own arm, you know?

First fingerless mitten done. I made the pattern longer ( I hate mittens that end before your coat begins) and I made the hand part a little longer too.

Maybe when the other one is done I can focus better and show the cables.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quiet Sunday Crafting

No blood, no accidents. I'm referring to my Sunday crafting day. I was pretty much left to my own devices today, and I was pretty productive.

Finished the memo board. By 9 am. I am such a morning person. It's all downhill after 9 am. I like it so much I have not replaced the photos that usually cover much of the board. I go admire it every so often.

I fixed the rug. It was too big for the small bathroom space, so I cut it, unraveled it, and retied the end strings. Not too tricky.

Next up was the wall art thing. Not real sure what I am doing, so I procrastinated a little, but by the end of the day I had this--

It doesn't show up very well on the countertop, but lets just say it is a work in progress. Maybe it needs narrower strips. It is kind of "busy". I used fabrics with pattern and now I don't think it will need any embellishment. I can't tell if that would be way too much going on. I do know I need some sort of stiff interfacing fused to the back to make the whole thing stay together. I hope it will hang on the wall without flopping over.

If it is a disaster, I will toss it in the trash and go buy a print for the wall. Or I could paint something. Something abstract. Hmmm. I need some advice.

Cuppy isn't any help.

The fingerless mittens are coming along nicely. I'm almost done with the first one.

Photos tomorrow.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Today Tracy came over and we started the bathroom project. First up was to decide on the fabric for the french memo board. We decided on the paisley with green ribbon and covered the buttons with the teal napkin fabric from Pier 1.

I had to get another spool of ribbon so we didn't finish. Alex was anxious to get to his football sleepover/birthday party (hopefully I will see him again tomorrow, that many 11 year old boys spells trouble). I will finish tomorrow. Then I will tackle the rug shortening. Could be tricky. Then the "art" for the other wall. Last time I did a project on a Sunday with hubby out of town resulted in the paramedics visiting. Pray for me.

Started something new. Fingerless mittens. So you can knit and still not freeze. What an invention! Using Koigu Kersti, it is so soft and I love the colors. The pattern is knitted in the round and has cables to keep me entertained. So far so good. I did one 19 row repeat so far.

The pattern is from the Holiday issue of Interweave Knits. It is a good issue, but I don't like it when you are all excited for new patterns, and then several are repeats you already have in other books/magazines. Bummer.

This one was new to me, or at least I think it is.

Emily went with me to Alex's football game. This photo proves if faced with the prospect of football and nothing else, even Emily will knit. She is doing very well so far, isn't she?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two days and counting

Procrastination is not a good thing. I leave for the Stampin Up regional training in two days. For those of you not familiar with a Stampin Up gathering, it is truly a wonderful thing. Imagine walking into a room filled with women (and a few men) who speak your own language. They know ink and paper like they know good friends. They would never, ever judge you for spending too much time or energy or money pursuing the pleasures of rubber stamping or scrapbooking. In fact, in this group, that sort of thing is a reason for celebration.

All regionals or conventions start the same way. You gather, find where to sign in and before youu can do a single thing you see a frenzy of activity. People have swap cards.

Swap Card: (n.) A greeting card lovingly made as a sample for others to collect, copy and enjoy. The minimum number suggested is normally around 40 or so for a small gathering like a regional. If it is a full convention, 100 is much more like it.

In two little days we will jump in the car and begin our weekend of fun. We will be packed. We will be excited. I may be just a tad jumpy. Unless things change. And soon.

I have ONE swap card completed. Just one.

They'll go farther on my feet

As a part of Socktoberfest, Lolly asks us questions now and then. Today, she posed the question: How far have your socks travelled? Where have they been?

Hmmm, I do take the knitting on trips, but where HAVE they been? The mom shawl went to Hawaii. The lace trellis beginning (which hasn't gotten any bigger) went to the St. Regis. Lots of knitting sees the Bay Area.

But my socks mostly have been in the car. THE CAR. Where I spend a big portion of my day. I did knit my last socks during dance class, football games, and soccer practice, the Midas shop, the dentist, and even break time during sub days. They get around, they just don't go far.

I love how knitting fills the spaces in my day. Sometimes it overfills it and I have to force myself to put it down, but for the most part it is the part that helps the rest of the day seem to flow better. The part that is for me among the things I do for everyone else.

Got my stuff from the fair today. They didn't lose anything (secret anxiety relieved). I got $17, not $10. They must have updated the premiums in 1972 but forgot to change the book.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Circular Completion

My first pair of circular-needle produced socks are finished. Did they soar as promised in the Cat Bordi book I learned the technique from? Pretty much, but I'm thinking that is due to the opportunities I had to knit. Lots of opportunities to knit (some people call it waiting). On the way to Saturdays soccer/football/football day I even turned the car around and went home because I forgot the knitting. What would I do then? Sit? Watch? Only do one thing at a time? My brain would atrophy!

We had car trouble on the way to San Francisco on Sunday. Didn't make it to the 49er game. Bummer for the game (they lost anyway) and bummer for the major car damage. But the silver lining to be found was the extra knitting time, or at the very least, the fact that I had the knitting with me. The other silver lining was the 2 months left on the 6 year warranty. Yikes.

Here are the socks-- I had lots of yarn left over. Should have made them longer. I'll know for the other two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill yarn I have.


Cherry Tree Hill
Color Peacock
Size 1 KnitPicks circular needles
Pattern: Harlot Basic Recipe

For my next trick, I am either going to do toe up (a la Wendy) or something with a pattern. I am very inspired with the pictures of socktoberfest on Flickr, and would like to try something a little more challenging.

I have been doing a lot of blog surfing lately and stumbled across some very fun blogs. I even found out that Socks that Rock has a Harlotty colorway. Must have! Ordered the Lucy (Wendy's cat) colorway they had too. I'm such a groupie! Stephanie called her Harlotty colorway the color of all the 70's appliances, gold, orange, and green. Thought that was funny.

Tomorrow I pick up my items from the fair, and my HUGE premium check. I get $10. It cost me $4 to enter. I think they set the premiums in 1952. Anyway, I obviously was not in it for the money. Just the bragging rights with my hubby. Ha.

I did get a very nice comment from a mom at school who had seen my mittens. She is a knitter, so that was nice.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now Interrupting Socktoberfest

I was cruising along with the socks when I surfed on over to Magknits. I had actually never seen that sight, and wow - I love it when I discover something wonderful. Lots of patterns, all nice, very similar to Knitty. A part of me feels like everyone knew this but me, but ANYWAY, I saw this very funky and oh so snazzy pumpkin bag. I had just picked up a skein of dark orange Cascade 220 from Ancient Pathways the other day, so I quickly called Meg and she held the other two I needed.

48 hours later I had this --

And after two trips through the washer I had this--

Here it is with the plastic bags still inside, not quite dry.

Very fun.

On a completely unrelated topic, my next project will be the kitchen bathroom. Right now, it is decorated in black with toile as the main theme. Nice, but I'm bored. Mom and I went to Pier 1 the other day and I fell in love with this rug. Not even a bathroom rug, and way too big, but the color was fabulous. Deep teal and green. I fell in love love. It was on sale, so it was meant to be mine. Now I have to decorate the entire room around it. Since the entire room is very small, that means two walls and the towels. Found the towels. Three different Targets, but mission accomplished. Found fabric to recover the French message board thing that I put photos in that I really like. Four different fabric stores, but I think I've got it. I have to fix the rug too, which means cutting and tying it off, which is doable (I hope).

I want to create a wall quilt/fabric art type of thing for the other wall. I know what I want to do in my mind's eye-- it will have strips of silk duponi-type fabric in the two colors woven unevenly and with some free motion quilting in some fun colors of sulky thread to embellish. Maybe beads. Maybe.

Tracy wants to help. I'll have to be extra careful with the rotary cutter. I told her the finger story and we about had to revive her right on the floor of Holy Child. I've never made anyone swoon before.

So now I've committed myself to this in words, I will keep you posted.

My camera is feeling better. I can hold out until I'm really sure what kind to get before I take the plunge.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One down, one to go

First sock done! It feels nice, the Cherry Tree Hill yarn is nice and soft, and feels good. Hard to believe it is wool.

My camera is dying. I hope it is the battery. If not, my posts might take a "use your imagination" turn until I can get a new one. I'm trying to make it last until Santa can come through.

Miss Carey Lou had a birthday today. Happy birthday Carey! You sure look good for 29! I made her a scarf. It is the Opera Scarf from Blue Sky Alpaca. It is not made of Alpaca. If I can recall, it is Berroco Cotton Twist I got in Walnut Creek.

This was the project I had to keep secret since it was a gift to my fellow blog buddy. It was a pain to knit!! It reminded me of Tinkerbell, because even though it was only three stitches to remember, if you messed up, it was almost impossible to put it right. If something dropped, you had to rip it back, and then you had no "resting row" to put things right. I ended up using a life line to keep my sanity. I was glad to see it finished, although I was happy with the result. I finished knitting it on the way to San Francisco last week.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sock of the Week

I'm making progress!

The camera does not do justice to the colors. I'm enjoying knitting this sock.

The two circulars method is very nice. The smoothness of the needles makes it a nice knit. I managed the flap/heel turn/picking up stitches/gusset part without any trauma, and now I'm close to the toe.

Isn't Alex a hunk?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Socktoberfest sign-up

I signed up for Socktoberfest. Me and 1700 other cyberknitters are going to knit socks this month. Since I was already into my peacock circular sock, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. I also can't seem to find any rules to this knit-a-long, so fabulous, count me in!

You may have noticed the eye-catching buttons located to your right. I figured out how to do a new thing on Blogger. Hooray! It is a little like a scavenger hunt to find how to do these things. It also makes you feel like you have been living in bush with the Wee Forest Folk and everyone else has been doing this for decades. Anyway, I am now button-saavy. Wow.

I wish I knew how to change the top banner. Boring!

I must mention that my technical advisor, Emily, is quite helpful when she cares to be. I only suffered through months of surfing the web, buying a book at Barnes & Noble, and careful cutting and pasting code that I still don't understand, and she says, "Here, hand it to me," and then in about two seconds had my button turned into a link. Don't you just love it?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tacos and ribbons

I just love the fair. It is nice to have something you can depend on. Something old (I'm sure the baby rattler is still fooling 6 year olds) and something new (the Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich, served with honey and cheese), something for everyone. As a 4-H kid, the Junior Exhibits was home with lots of ribbons making you feel very important. As an adult, I had always felt intimidated by the entries in the Home Arts building, not so much because I thought they were so amazing, but because you could tell it was difficult to win anything, and some things that were very good won nothing. It was always somewhat baffling.

My personal goal a few years ago was to enter and win a blue ribbon. Maurice beat me to that, and bruised my ego in the process. He doesn't know that he really did bruise my ego. He entered his hand made wine and got first place. Admirable, yes, but he beat me. So I made a quilt and entered it. It at the time was my crowning achievement in quilting. I also chopped off a nice chunk of my finger making it, causing 10 stitches and leaving a lasting reminder of my skills with a rotary cutter. Anyway, I got an Honorable Mention. A ribbon, saving me from utter humiliation, but not really anything.

Well, finally the mountain has been climbed. I did it! One blue ribbon, and two red ones. Not too bad. I realize in the grand scheme of things it is a very little thing, but I like it when I tell myself I could do something if I wanted, and then I actually follow through. So many times, it is easier to let the thought pass.

Next goal is to enter in Fine Arts building. They have a fiber arts category. Hmmm. We'll see how many years it takes me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Socktoberfest Button
Originally uploaded by LollyKnit.

Should I join this knit along and see how many socks I can knit this month?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We sparkle!

Good Things has gone glam!

We did a quick Martha craft with some mini pumpkins, and they were cute. See?

We broke in Tracy as a new member by spilling lots of glitter all over her house. Hopefully she will forgive us. She was a great hostess, and bakes a mean pumpkin cake.

My knitting mojo has returned! I have made progress on the circular Cherry Tree Hill socks. This was yarn I got at Full Thread Ahead on Harlot Day. It is Peacock color. I love it! It is so pretty. So far, the knitting socks on circulars is going just fine, but I am on the easy part. I'll reserve judgement until after heel/gusset time.

I do want to report my instant and total devotion to the new Knit Picks Options circular needles. They give Addi Turbo a run for their money. Much cheaper and in my humble and not so esteemed opinion, just as good. Better, if you are partial to purple (they have purple cords). Amazing. Go buy some right now, okay? And then knit something fabulous.

When you knit socks you attract lots of attention. Today one of the other soccer moms said that it looked like a lot of work for "just socks." Do these look like just socks to you? This is art and expression, people! Non knitters just don't get it. It does no good to try to explain it either. I told her it was "fun." Further explanation would have eaten into my knitting time.

P.S. Congratulations to Mrs. Harlot!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I love yarn stores

Yes, yes I do.

I'm home from SF now. I got to go to the big city, but the best part was the trip to two wonderful stores. Wanna hear about them? Of course you do. But first you have to bear with me, I'm in the mood to make a list.

Cindy's favorite out of town yarn stores

  1. Imagiknit, San Francisco
  2. Article Pract, Oakland
  3. ArtFibers, San Francisco
  4. Fashion-knit, Walnut Creek
  5. Knitter's Haven, Visalia
  6. Full Thread Ahead, Los Altos
  7. Continental Stitch, Morgan Hill
  8. Jennifer Knits, Los Angeles

What this list shows is that I need to get out of the Bay Area a little. The interesting part is that each of these stores has something that can't quite be matched by the others on the list, meaning I really love them all. What's not to like about a yarn store, anyway? There is that other yarn store in Fresno that acts like you need to be on the list of VIPs in order for them to talk to you, so I guess there are yarn stores that could use a dose of customer service. And, there is another store in Fresno that caters to the acrylic needs of those who like scratchy afghans and needlepoint plastic canvas toilet paper covers, but we won't go there either.

Anyway, I highly recommend Imagiknit. It is the biggest yarn store I have visited. They have one room for wool and one for cotton yarns, each room is bigger than most yarn stores alone. It is mind boggling. You really need to have a project in mind in order to not wander around drooling and talking to yourself. You also need to beware they attract the rather "artsy" SF type of knitters, so if men knitters with mohawks make you uncomfortable, it might not be the store for you. I am the "live and let live" type of knitter, so the more the merrier. They are very nice there, although when we were there on Stitch n Pitch day, they weren't aware it was that day. You would think they should have been informed about such an IMPORTANT event. The Oakland store knew all about it, had several employees that were there, and chatted with us about it.

Parking can be a challenge, and it is in a rather interesting neighborhood (Maurice got propositioned on the way from the car to the store the first time we were there), but I still love it, hence the numbero uno.

Artifibers is the most sophisticated yarn store possible. They have only their own yarns, which are milled for them. They have lots of silks and silk blends, and some very exotic yarns made from things like stainless steel. There colors are incredible, beyond belief, beautiful. They offer "yarn tasting" in the "yarn tasting lounge" which means if you like a yarn, you are free to take a sample skein, grab some needles from the vase, and sit in their lounge chairs and try it out. They will then take your gauge from that yarn, measure you, and using their computer database of patterns, they will print a custom pattern for you. That is a very cool feature that I have not yet taken advantage of. Someday I will. That would take a lot of time and usually I don't have that luxury. Plus, it does tend toward the pricey end of the yarn spectrum, so a knitter would have to make a committment.

I also love Britex Fabrics, and they do sell a smidge of yarn there. Enough that I can usually find something interesting. This time I got a Noni bag pattern. I have others already, but this one featured lots of bobbles a la Dr. Seuss. I'm thinking I need a Cindy Lou Hoo purse.

Want to see the yarn I bought? I thought so. I was in a rather pumpkin/green tone mood. I think it has to do with my new shoes :). Look at the pattern for the tiny sweaters - Doesn't it beg to be made into a Christmas ornament?

As you might see, I have already started to swatch some of them. Haven't decided what I'm going to do with them.

I'm trying to regain my knitting mojo by teaching myself to knit socks on two circular needles. I got the needles and the book a while ago, but now is the time to learn the technique. So far so good I'm on row 4.

Want to see a cute soccer player? Of course you do.